College football prospects are rated on a scale of one to five stars (5 representing the best, 1 the worst) coming out of high school. So how does that quantification translate to the just completed 2010 NFL draft?
As one might expect, the vast majority of the players selected in the first round of this past week’s draft came out of high school with a lot of stars next to their names. But not all of them.
In fact, one of the notable exceptions was the Atlanta Falcons’ draft pick. Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, who the Falcons selected with the 19th pick, was considered a two-star recruit by both the Rivals and Scout recruiting services when he signed with Missouri out of Jasper High in Texas.
Weatherspoon, Idaho offensive lineman Mike Iupati, Boise State cornerback Kyle Wilson, Rutgers cornerback Devin McCourty and TCU defensive end Jerry Hughes made up a suprisingly large group of consensus two-star college prospects taken in the first round. And Fresno State running back Ryan Matthews, the No. 12 pick of the San Diego Chargers, got only a 2 from Rivals and a 3 from Scout coming out of Bakersfield, Calif.
Other than that, the draft’s first-round was mostly a star-studded affair.
Fairburn’s Eric Berry, the No. 5 pick of the Kansas City Chiefs, was one of five consensus 5-star college prospects, including Gerald McCoy (No. 3 pick), CJ Spiller (9), Brandon Graham (13) and, of course, Tim Tebow (25). Twenty-three of the 32 selections had at least one recruiting ranking of 4 stars or better coming out of high school. Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, the No. 1 overall pick, was among those. However, while he received a 4-star rating from Scout, he got only a 3 from Rivals.
Locally, it has been well documented that Georgia Tech had a fantastic year in the NFL draft. The Yellow Jackets had two players — defensive end Derrick Morgan and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas – taken in the first round. That hadn’t happened since 1979 when running back Eddie Lee Ivery (15th) and tackle Kent Hill (26th) each got the early call. The Yellow Jackets had four players drafted, including safety Morgan Burnett going in the third round and running back Jonathan Dwyer in the sixth.
Meanwhile, Georgia had a down year for the draft. The Bulldogs had five players drafted but none before linebacker Rennie Curran went late in the third round.
However, the argument that the Yellow Jackets’ players were “coached up more” is hard to validate. Thomas was a 3-star recruit coming out of Dublin’s West Laurens High and definitely improved his stick in college. But otherwise Morgan, Burnett and Dwyer were all high-profile recruits with consensus 4-star ratings.
Conversely, Georgia’s Reshad Jones, considered a 5-star recruit by Rivals when he came out of Atlanta’s Booker T. Washington High (4 per Scout), didn’t get selected until the fifth round. But just last year Georgia had the No. 1 overall player (quarterback Matt Stafford), two first-rounders (including running back Knowshon Moreno), three of the first 50 picks (including wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi) and six players overall.
Here’s some data to chew on before telling us what you think:
GEORGIA TECH DRAFTEES
2010 NFL FIRST-ROUNDERS
Team — Player — Rivals/Scout rank